A journey exploring the life of Dr. Alberto Villoldo, who has studied the legendary Inka and Q’Ero shamans.

Shaman Healer Sage is the story of Alberto Villoldo, a Cuban-born doctor who chose to travel around the globe and seek out the ways of the shamans, traditional healers found in cultures throughout the world. He dedicated over fifty years to studying the practices of the healers in the Americas. This is a slice of life portrait based on his book of the same name.

The film is about as close to a textbook definition of a documentary as you will find. There is no urging the viewer to seek out more information, no suggestions to follow, simply a man telling the story of his life.

For those who read Dr. Villoldo’s book, Shaman Healer Sage provides a chance to fully round out the existing mental profile of the doctor. Dr. Villoldo is a very engaging interview subject and this documentary may very well cause some to seek out his book in order to learn more.

I would only urge caution for those who are searching out a deeper history of the shamans, insights into how their healing methods are employed, or how one would become a shaman. Shaman Healer Sage is only about Dr. Villoldo, and is not specifically a step-by-step guide to becoming a shaman. Nor is it a history of the shamans or a medical workshop video. Those looking to gain a deeper understanding of anything besides Dr. Villoldo himself would do well to search elsewhere.

Although there were no technical issues with either the video stream or the audio track, both could have definitely been enhanced in order to convey a more cinematic feel. And while that normally is not something I search out in a straight up documentary Shaman Healer Sage was shot in some of the most remote and beautiful locations, and though the focus is Dr. Villoldo, I felt the filmmakers were remiss in not going the extra mile to present everything shot in its best light.

The special feature runs almost as long as the documentary itself, and is a more in-depth look at the nine chakras discussed, along with detailed example of some of the exercises Dr. Villoldo demonstrated as well.

Shaman Healer Sage is very quick viewing, just over an hour. As such, trying to cram an entire life into such a short period of time means most of the topics receive only a surface treatment. Dr. Villoldo has led a truly interesting life and while this documentary left me wanting to know more it was nonetheless worth watching. If you have already read his book, or you’re interested in a brief overview of the shamans, Shaman Healer Sage is an easy recommendation.


Not guilty.

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